UPDATE (Aug. 30): The city states that the Governor’s order did not shut down one of the four projects in the city, i.e. York street. The hold up is with bids the city could not accept because they were not within their budget, they say.
In early July, Lambertville residents at sections of Clinton and York streets received letters from Suez Water regarding impending water main construction.
The letter indicated that the duration of the work would be two months starting July 25, and that the company would “provide you with improved water quality and service reliability.”
Historically, after new pipes are installed, the city hires a company to repave the dug up roads. But not this time. That’s because the planned construction on these streets was part of the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Municipal Aid grants, which have been halted since July.
On June 30, Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency due to New Jersey’s nearly broke Transportation Trust Fund, and shortly afterward, all “nonessential” rail and road projects in the state stopped. This included the planned repaving of sections on Clinton, and York streets, as well as two projects on Route 29 — one north of Bridge Street, and the second, rockfall mitigation, near the Golden Nugget Flea Market.
“We’re in a holding pattern,” said Lambertville City Clerk Cindy Ege. “Unfortunately, we’re not authorized to proceed.”
When asked what the roads would look like once the water company is finished on their end, Ege noted Suez would likely just overlay the pipe section of the road with blacktop (see photo).
A proposed increase in the gasoline tax was intended to help alleviate the trust fund’s shortfall, however, an agreement with Christie and New Jersey State legislatures was never reached. According to NJ Spotlight, the governor and top members of the state senate and assembly can’t even agree to a meeting to discuss compromises.
The frosty relations between the two sides might not thaw soon. And by the beginning of November, most local companies stop making blacktop for the winter.